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Associate Degree Careers
To be career-ready in 2 years, students need to choose an occupational major early in their school career. And there are plenty of options. An associate degree is the most significant source of training for several occupations in science, technology, engineering, and healthcare. For some fields, an associate's degree provides full career preparation.  For others, earning an associate degree may be an entre in a career where others may have earned a bachelor's degree.  In these fields, earning and associate's degree instead of a bachelor's degree may affect the amount of responsibility workers have in an occupation. For example, biology technicians with associate degrees often help to set up experiments and interpret results -- while those with bachelor's degrees may have more of a supervisory role in the same operation.

The following are links to broad resources on careers that can be launched with an associate degree and are profiled on the Career Cornerstone Center:


Allied Health:

Medical Technology:


Semiconductor Processors

Engineering Technology

Engineering Technology

 Science Technicians:


  • Engineering Technology. Programs in engineering technology are usually either at the associate or bachelor degree level. For example, electrical engineering technology students design and test radio frequency equipment, fiber optics, computers, or laboratory
    equipment, depending on the degree program. Chemical engineering technology students prepare to work in laboratories or chemical plants. Find out more about engineering technology.
  • Healthcare. This is one of the largest -- and most lucrative -- career fields for those with an associate degree. Associate degrees are a significant source of training for several healthcare occupations. For example, more than half of all registered nurses and dental hygienists have this degree. Physical therapy assistants and occupational therapy assistants usually need an associate degree to be certified. Radiation therapists; respiratory therapists; diagnostic workers, such as radiologic technicians, diagnostic medical sonographers, and EKG technicians; and many technicians, including orthotists and clinical laboratory technicians, also often earn associate degrees. Many schools have additional requirements for admission to healthcare programs, including a minimum grade point average and completion of high school science classes.
  • Sciences. An associate degree in the natural sciences, such as
    biology, chemistry, or physics, prepares students for work as science technicians. Many graduates find work in laboratories, helping scientists conduct research by setting up experiments, taking measurements, and writing reports. Others work in chemical, medical, or electronics production plants, performing work such as checking products for quality and troubleshooting plant machinery. Forensic science technicians also can train with an associate degree, although bachelor's degree holders predominate in many States. Although a degree is not always required for science technicians, it gives students more opportunities and the chance to do more challenging entry-level work.
  • Veterinary technicians. Veterinary technicians nurse animals, assist during surgery, prepare medicines, and perform laboratory tests. Many technicians have an associate degree; in fact, most States now require veterinary technicians to have one, and technicians need a degree before the American College of Veterinary Medicine can certify them. Veterinary technician students study anatomy, biology, medicines and chemistry, and medical procedures. Find out more about veterinary technology.




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